The Nasarawa State Government says it will soon release N1.8 billion to boost the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Yahaya, made this known on Monday at a five-day workshop on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Programme in Akwanga, Akwanga Local Government Area of the state.
Yahaya, represented by Ishaku Abari, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that arrangement had been concluded for the release of funds to sustain the tempo of the fight against the scourge.
Yahaya said that the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state was still largely donor-driven, hence the government’s determination to increase funding toward its sustenance when the donors eventually pull out.
He said that the ministry would liaise with the state Assembly Committee on Health with a view to ensuring allocation of funds to tackle the scourge.
Also, Dr Peter Attah, the Coordinator, State AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Programme (SASCP), called for more government’s support to the programme for its sustenance beyond the donor funding.
Attah said that efforts of the team had yielded great results in reducing the prevalence rate of the disease in the state.
He added that as of June, no fewer than 60, 000 people were living with HIV and receiving treatments in various medical facilities across the state.
The commissioner expressed concern about the attitude of some people toward medical screening in order to know their health status and getting prompt treatment.
According to Attah, no fewer than 22, 000 people believed to be living with HIV have refused to make themselves available for testing so as to access treatment.
He appealed to members of the public to go for HIV testing to ascertain their health status, saying that those found to be positive would be placed on treatment to prevent further spread of the virus.